A Number of Cleaning Brushes (photo: tanakawho)

I won’t lie to you. Unless someone’s coming over, I tend to let things around the house go. Watching TV or playing Scrabble with Mr. A after dinner often takes precedence over doing the dishes immediately. I mean, the place isn’t filthy. We have pets, so we make sure to do maintenance regularly so the place doesn’t smell like We Have Pets, but I don’t always sort the mail or hang up my coat right away when I get in the door at night.

But every spring, on the first real warm day, it’s as if (as my smart friend Whet said over on Twitter) mother nature is saying to me, “I’ve got my shit together. What are you waiting for?” It’s almost chemical, this impulse to overturn all the rocks in my life and start fresh. A clean house is the illusion of control over my environment, and since I’m a control freak, this seems the easiest way to fix the chaos around me.

So I turn the place upside down, sweeping and mopping and washing windows the way my grandmother did, with vinegar and hot water, cleaning out the fridge which has somehow become a condiment farm (why are there three kinds of ketchup, and why do we need them all?). I sweep the back deck, though I know in an hour more leaves and seeds and bird leavings will have fallen all over it. I rearrange the furniture, wash all the curtains, drive the ferrets crazy with the vacuum cleaner.

Are you a neat freak? A slob? Do you do spring cleaning?



A Number of Cleaning Brushes, by http://www.flickr.com/people/28481088@N00/

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.